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Manchester derby is world's most important game - Vincent Kompany

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Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has called the Manchester derby "the most important game in the world" ahead of Sunday's clash with United at Old Trafford.

City are eight points clear of their second-placed neighbours at the top of the Premier League, and would inflict a huge setback on United's title hopes with an away win.

But Kompany stressed that he saw the match as the most important of the season regardless of its impact on the title race.

"I kind of press pause when it's a derby and the season doesn't matter to me any more, it's all about the derby," he told Sky Sports.

"Managers and players do like to downplay it, but I don't care -- it's rubbish. The derby at that moment is the most important game in the world to me.

"It means more than anything else, and it will be everything I've got, everything the team have got and everything the fans have got to win that game.

"It doesn't matter which position we are in, whether we need a point, three points, I don't care -- we need to make sure we leave that place with our heads high."

Kompany, who has recently returned from more than two months out with a calf strain, is likely to start against United after sitting out Sunday's home win over West Ham.

And with City likely to face an aerial threat from Jose Mourinho's United -- particularly after conceding from corners twice in their last three games -- he is likely to be a key player.

The Belgium international said he would be happy to take the pressure and was desperate for victory.

"I think it's a natural thing to want to almost put expectations a bit lower, because it makes you feel like the pressure is perhaps easier to deal with, but in my case I am happy to deal with pressure," he said.

"I enjoy it more than anyone else and I am happy to say that the derby is more important than any other game.

"But it's not something that happens in your mind and you're in control of. It's 110 percent that your manager asks from you when you play against West Ham at the weekend, and he'll ask the same for the United game.

"But the problem is in those derbies you get to 120 percent and nobody can explain why -- but that happens in a game and it is out of everyone's control."